Kiev, Nov 19: Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said on Wednesday that his government does not intend to hold direct talks with independence-seeking insurgents to de-escalate the crisis in eastern regions.
"We will not negotiate directly with the mercenaries. If you want peace then follow the Minsk agreement," Xinhua quoted Yatsenyuk as telling a cabinet meeting.
To pave the way for a peaceful solution to the seven-month-old conflict, Yatsenyuk proposed holding crisis talks in the Geneva format with the participation of Ukraine, Russia, the US and the European Union (EU).
The insurgents in eastern Ukraine have been long seeking direct negotiations with the government over the crisis, saying that the talks without participation of their leadership are "ineffective".
On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that all parties concerned should resume the Minsk-format discussions to end violence in eastern Ukraine.
The Ukrainian government and the pro-independence rebels in Donetsk and Lugansk inked a ceasefire agreement Sep 5 in Minsk, capital of Belarus, at a meeting also attended by envoys from Russia and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
However, after Kiev abolished a law on "special status" of the two regions, the insurgents said they would not observe the Minsk protocol.